By Marshall Madsen


Is new unsafe? Let's talk ingredients and find out

When I’ve worked with my high schoolers and college students in the past, a theme that pops up (in just about every subject I’ve taught) is the conflation of new with unsafe. 

While new may be scary – it doesn’t necessarily mean unsafe. Applying that to skincare – the idea of putting products on the delicate skin of your face can be a little scary; but don’t let that keep you from finding the best care routine possible! You want to walk the fine line between getting the results you want and keeping your skin safe and healthy. But in exploring or thinking of new – are we actually being unsafe, or are we just comfortable? 

Maybe you’re an avid TrueScience® skincare addict, or maybe you’re harrowed by the thought of a new skincare routine. Either way it’s important to have an answer to the question about safety versus comfort: “How do the TrueScience products strike that balance?”

What’s in TrueScience®?

It starts with a high safety profile. The International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) have recognized the ingredients in our products as safe and acceptable for use. To double-check it’s cleanliness and safety, we have a certified “Think Dirty” score of 2. And finally, for sheer overkill, we backed our products with a clinical study, and two unique patents¹.

We use only ingredients that have been tested to ensure safety, purity, quality, and efficacy. Our products also must contain substances that keep the ingredients stable through any fluctuations in humidity and temperature, helping them stay germ-free and safe for use around the world, regardless of environment. 

Ingredients can be categorized as “natural,” “naturally-derived,” and “synthetic,” and it’s helpful to know what each of these terms mean: 

  • Natural  = derived from plants. 
    • In general, that’s a good thing. However, natural materials may be prone to deterioration and/or contamination by bacteria—which is also completely “natural.” So even if an ingredient is natural, keeping it safe and stable is very important for shipment, shelf-life, production, and of course usage when it finally reaches your skin.
  • Naturally-derived = natural ingredients were processed to create an ingredient. 
    • Palm or coconut oil, for example, is processed to create cetearyl alcohol. This ingredient helps emulsify a product, meaning that it will not separate or break down over time (like how oil and water naturally separate), and palm or coconut oil by itself would not accomplish this. All the same rules apply—safety and stability of these ingredients is always top priority. 
  • Synthetic = compounds developed in a laboratory by chemically creating an ingredient, often using natural substances as a base. 
    • Some are used to keep natural ingredients safe by eliminating risk of additional bacteria multiplying or contaminating a product while sealed. They also can be used to keep Naturally-derived ingredients stable by keeping the product chemically viable and sustainable, so it doesn’t separate or revert during processing or shipment. Many more are active synthetic substances and compounds that are chemically identical to natural ones and are cheaper to mass-produce synthetically.

Each of the four TrueScience[KM10] ® products contains all three of these types of ingredients; however, a large amount of the active Nrf2 Activation ingredients are plant-based (i.e., natural or naturally-derived). This ensures that our products are safe for your skin, contain high-quality ingredients, and meet all safety and quality standards. 

The Synthetic Elephant in the Room

You’re not the only one. Some people, including myself, are concerned when they hear the word “synthetic” in relation to skincare products. There are some really great reasons to use a synthetic molecule instead of a natural one. Synthetic molecules can provide the same action as a natural one, but may be less prone to triggering allergic reactions. As mentioned above (other than having to do with safety and stability), product shelf life is another important consideration. Some natural substances, such as essential oils, can have a preservative effect. They often are incorporated or used in such large quantities upon creation or production that they would interfere with the product’s other ingredients, and affect the product’s scent and texture.

Here are a few ingredients that people worry a bit about, and reasons to set your mind at ease about why they are included: 

  • Polysorbate 20: This ingredient is derived from lauric acid, which is a fatty acid found in coconut oil, fruits, and berries. It is used as an emulsifier (keeps product from separating) and lubricator. It adds fragrance and has a soothing effect on the skin. It is approved for use in food, health, and beauty applications by the FDA. 
  • Phenoxyethanol: This chemical compound is found naturally in green tea. It kills bacteria, mold, fungus, and other microbes to keep skin products safe. It can also be used to add fragrance, but isn’t necessarily it’s primary function. It does not release formaldehyde, and is approved for use as a preservative and stabilizer in cosmetic products.
  • Glycerin: glycerin is a humectant that’s present in all-natural lipids (fats), whether animal or vegetable. It can be derived from natural substances or can also can be synthetically manufactured, which is usually the case with modern-day skincare products. It’s typically used in concentrations of 5% or less and always combined with other ingredients to soften skin. In fact, glycerin combined with other emollients and/or oils is a fundamental cornerstone of most moisturizers. 

We’ll let you in on a little secret. We often use Paula’s Choice Ingredient Dictionary to research our materials, ingredients, and products. If you’re ever unsure of a product or ingredient, always do your research to make sure you feel comfortable using a product or ingredient in any capacity. 

Whether you’ve already found the Holy Grail of Skincare, or if you’re just starting your research journey; you can rest assured that all TrueScience products are created with ingredients that provide the optimal balance between safety and efficacy. Don’t let new scare you, you’ll be pleased with the results. We guarantee it!

¹Patent No. US 9,289,374 B2, Awarded: 22 March 2016 & Patent No. US 9,889,171 B2, Awarded: 13 February 2018

* The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of LifeVantage or any other agency, organization, employer or company

** LifeVantage’s Marketing team may from time to time publish blog articles reporting information and research from third-party sources. The views and opinions expressed by these third-party sources as reported in LifeVantage blog articles are those of the authors and experts quoted therein and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of LifeVantage.